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The descriptive writing is particularly strong, although I found the subject matter and voice engaging too. The writer really nails description, incorporating plenty of colour and sound and sensation - it's a sensory paradise. They seem almost reluctant when they have to move on to pure plot and narrative, which I can understand because the imagery and descriptive language is definitely the highlight of each section. I also think it forms a really good structural motif, in a way - when each paragraph lapses into a description of setting or sound, it's always different and really gives the reader the impression of a journey, a narrative constantly in flux. This is really valuable to the piece and helps to embellish the plot really well.
I don't think it was a piece with a point to make, necessarily, or not about any of the factors above (although maybe I'm just blind) but it was a quite interesting insight into human nature (though it occurs to me that the narrator may not be human!). The nature of the brutal journey, the weariness, the indifference to death, the pursuit of an intangible and receding goal and the depiction of pain and hopelessness were all really interesting. Maybe this could be a more overt element, with more overt commentary on human nature, or maybe you could make it more clearly a reflection of human nature within a certain context to give it a more obvious message.
I was a tad confused at points but I think this was because the writer was quite reluctant to give information in general. This isn't a criticism - I found it really engaging that they didn't ever give too much away. However, this could potentially do with giving the reader a bit more to bite into - for instance, could we know more about what the narrator is actually pursuing? Could we get more of a picture of the team? Why are they together? What do they have in common? Additionally, what's the background of the narrator and how did they come to this place? I understand that it can feel clunky to try to throw all of this in, especially within a word limit, but it could help the reader to get more of a grip on it if you were to include a little bit more in terms of context and background.
Your writing is beautiful, the piece engaged me throughout, you clearly have an excellent imagination, you really know how to make a piece appeal to the reader and you're generally very good with controlling the amount of information we have access to so we're hooked and constantly wanting more. This is a really impressive piece and I really enjoyed reading it - good luck for the competition!